What's wrong with these leaves? Variegated rubber plant.

newgen(9 Central California)April 18, 2011

As you can see from the photos below, the new leaves at the top look perfect. However, the older leaves have brown, dried edges at some of the leaf's periphery. I don't fertilize it much, maybe a couple times a year, sprinkle some Osmocote, water when I feel the soil is dry. I checked with my fingers, as well as when I see a gap developing between the soil and the wall of the pot. The plant sits at a west facing window.

Thanks,

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Unless you have a cache pot hiding inside the large pot, it looks like you have a very large volume of soil for the size of the plant. That's not a problem if you're using a fast (draining), well-aerated soil, but it can present significant issues if you're using a water-retentive soil because the soil stays saturated deep in the pot for extended periods, killing roots or impairing root function and impeding the plant's ability to move water to the top of the plant. Additionally, it's commonplace to water heavy soil;s in sips, in an attempt to avoid there waterlogged conditions, but in doing so you ensure that dissolved solids from fertilizers and tap water accumulate in the soil and further inhibit the plant's ability to keep foliage hydrated. The result is usually the necrotic leaf tips and margins seen in your pictures.

There ARE remedies and tricks you can use that will allow you to water properly (so at least 10-15% of the total volume of water you apply exits the drain every time you water), but the best fix (by far) is to start using a soil that you KNOW will remain well-aerated and drain freely for at least the interval it's reasonable to allow between repots (not potting up).

If you're interested in getting your plant back on track, we can talk more. You might also find the thread I'll link you to below helpful, as it directly addresses the care of Ficus trees in containers.

AL

Here is a link that might be useful: More about Ficus in containers

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:45PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Thanks Al, I'll repot it in the gritty mix.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 11:20PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 11:28PM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Al is correct. Not that you needed me to tell you that : P

-3rd year

Here is a link that might be useful: Houseplantblog.com

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:14PM
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